April 26, 2018
It’s Animal Cruelty Awareness Week. We’ll be posting daily – the goal is to raise awareness, encourage education and start a conversation about the many forms of animal abuse and neglect. Historically (and legally) animals have been viewed only as property. But that’s changing. There’s a growing trend to view animals as creatures which have the right to live their lives free from pain, suffering and fear. It’s our shared responsibility to take care of the animals that grace this planet.
What is Animal Cruelty?
Animal Cruelty is any behavior that causes pain or suffering to an animal. This includes puppy mills, animal hoarding, farm animal welfare, dog and cock fighting. It also includes lab testing on animals, the plastic garbage that ends up killing birds or marine animals…and much more.
Animal Cruelty can either be deliberate abuse or the failure to take care of an animal. Either way, the animal can suffer terribly.
What can you do about Animal Cruelty?
Educate yourself and others on how to prevent animal cruelty. Report it when you see it.
Part of educating yourself is by learning what an animal needs to thrive. Animals have some basic requirements for food, water, shelter as well as space to exercise or exhibit normal behavior. These requirements can be specific to the animal’s species, age, and size.
Signs of Animal Neglect or Cruelty include: extremely thin or emaciated animals, injuries or illnesses that appear to be ongoing or untreated, inability to walk or stand normally, the owners show disregard for the pain/discomfort an animal is experiencing or observation of an animal being struck or physically abused. Before reporting, be fair and look closely – maybe it only looks like neglect. Maybe the food and water bowls are kept inside. Maybe there’s a dog door you can’t see.
There is a well-documented link between animal cruelty and violence against people. Those who abuse animals are also likely to harm people – including their own family members. Schools, parents, communities, and courts are beginning to realize that shrugging off cruelty to animals as a “minor” crime is like ignoring a ticking time bomb.
Puppy Mills mass-produce puppies for sale typically on an intensive basis and in conditions regarded as inhumane. They sell through pet stores or directly to consumers through classified ads or the Internet.
What You Can Do? Adopt from an animal shelter, rescue group or good breeder. A reputable breeder will show you where the dogs live and introduce you to the puppy’s parents. They will explain the puppy’s medical history, including vaccines, and gives you their veterinarian’s contact info. They don’t have puppies available year-round, yet may keep a waiting list for interested people. And they will ask about your family’s lifestyle, why you want a dog, and your care and training plans for the puppy.
(Please note aware that Colorado State law prohibits the sale of puppies under 8 weeks old.)
Farm Animal Welfare: animals raised for food deserve to live free from abuse and cruelty. We live in an age where industrialized farms maximize profits by treating animals not as sentient creatures, but as production units. Such production creates what appear to be “cheap” meat, eggs, and dairy products. But what at the cash register seems inexpensive in fact costs dearly to farm animals. For each aspect of industrial production, alternative methods that are both humane and economical are possible.
How Plastic Bags Affect Wildlife
Tens of thousands of whales, birds, seals and turtles are killed every year from plastic bag litter in the marine environment as they often mistake plastic bags for food such as jellyfish. The plastics bags cannot be digested or passed by an animal so it stays in the gut and can prevent food digestion and can lead to a very slow and painful death.
As plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to break down, once an animal dies and decays after ingesting plastic, the plastic is then freed back into the marine environment to carry on killing other wildlife.
What can you do? Reduce, Recycle, Re-use.
To report suspected cruelty or abuse, call your local law enforcement. For the Rifle area, call the non-emergent dispatch number at (970) 625-8095 or, if it’s an emergency, dial 911.